Tag Archives: malema

South Africa – Malema charges struck off roll without being answered because of delays

Mail and Guardian

The case against Julius Malema may have been struck off the roll, but the charges remain unanswered.

Julius Malema, on his farm. (Gallo)

News analysis

Julius Malema is free to go, for now. On Tuesday, judge Billy Mothle struck Malema’s criminal case from the roll, but this does not mean that Malema is innocent.

On Monday, Malema’s co-accused, businessman Kagisho Dichabe, did not appear in court, apparently because he was ill.

This presented the court with a dilemma:  to postpone the case again, which could potentially be prejudicial to Malema and his co-accused, or to separate Dichabe’s case from the case against the other two, and to proceed with the trial of Malema and co-accused Lesiba Gwangwa this week

But the state did not apply for a separation of the two cases, and the court has no power to order that the cases be separated without an application, said Mothle. He indicated that if he had such power, he “would have exercised it”.

Mothle explained that the case had been frequently  postponed since 2013, and most of these postponements were requests from the state.

“The state’s actions have now caught up with us,” he said.

He decried the fact that the accused had the charges hanging over their heads for two years, and said any further postponements would be unfair to them.

The prosecution can however recharge Malema, Dichabe and Gwangwa. They have not pleaded to the case against them, and there has been no ruling on their guilt or innocence.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told journalists outside court on Monday that the indictment against them contains four charges: money laundering, fraud, corruption and racketeering. There are 54 counts between the three accused.

The case against Malema
Malema has repeatedly claimed innocence, and has said that he did not “steal anything”. That is not quite the state’s case against him.

His role in what the state alleges was a tender-rigging scam, was that of the receiver of ill-gotten goods. These “goods”, worth more than R4-million, would eventually help him to purchase his farm, which the South African Revenue Service later confiscated.

The allegation is that payments which were the proceeds of corrupt or fraudulent activity made their way to Malema’s pocket. These “proceeds” were acquired through the alleged corrupt tendering activities of Malema’s business associates, Gwangwa and Dichabe. These men tendered for the contract which would eventually make them a lot of money – over R40-million in the end – which much of this finding its way into Malema’s hands, alleges the state.

And while he might not have had a direct hand in that fraudulent activity, the state alleges that Malema knew that the money came from dodgy dealings, or ought reasonably have known about it, and thus benefitted from corruption.

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos surmised what the state must prove, in a piece published on the Daily Maverick: “The state would have to show that at least some of the 16 payments made to the Ratanang Trust (payments which add up to just over R4.5-million) were the proceeds of unlawful activity and that Malema knew this or ought reasonably to have known this. If they can show that even one of these payments came from unlawful activities and that Malema ought reasonably to have known this, they would have secured a conviction.”

In 2011, the Mail & Guardian reported that Malema’s Ratangang Family Trust, which he founded, held shares in a company called On-Point Engineering. The department of Roads in Limpopo had, in 2009, established a programme management unit (PMU) to oversee, among other things, its road works responsibilities.

On-Point was awarded the contract to manage the unit on behalf of the department for three years. The contract was worth R52-million.

According to the initial draft charge sheet that the National Prosecuting Authority presented to court in 2013, On-Point was only registered in 2009, a month before it bid for the PMU contract. But in its bid submission, it said it had nine years’ experience.

On-Point also submitted a tax clearance certificate as part of the bid, but the certificate actually belonged to a shelf company.

The charge sheet says that there is a “clear business relationship” between Malema and Gwangwa, their companies and entities.

It also says that Malema’s Ratanang Trust owns 50% of a company called Guilder Investments, which in term owns 33.3% of On-Point Engineering, making Malema an indirect shareholder.

It also says that there is no evidence that On-Point had any experience in running PMUs, as it stated on its bid documentation.

Nevertheless, On-Point won the contract, and also entered into an agreement with the department to provide drawings and designs of the projects that it would later manage, at an additional R8-million.

On-Point then entered into “secret agreements” with various companies, which were to be service providers, who were supposed to provide engineering services for eight construction projects, alleges the state.

The charge sheet alleges that the payments received by these companies from these “secret agreements” were channelled through yet more companies, to pay for the farm which Malema’s trust was buying, for almost R4-million.

Malema previously told the M&G that he did not have anything to do with the day-to-day running of the Ratanang Trust, of which his son is apparently the only beneficiary.

“I do not know what happens at On Point,” he said. “I just queue when the dividends are due. And not me, the trust does that.”

South Africa – Malema defiant after more disruption in parliament

‘We are scared of nothing,’ says a defiant Malema after Parly chaos  
Alicestine October, Media24 Parliamentary Bureau –
ANC laments ‘attack on democracy’

ANC, DA slam EFF outbursts in Parliament

Parliament beats Jerry Springer hands down

Cape Town – We are determined and unbowed! 

This was the message from the Economic Freedom Fighters after another disruption in Parliament on Thursday.

After Parliament was hastily adjourned amid the chaos, EFF leader Julius Malema said the party’s members of Parliament were not afraid of the consequences of their behaviour. 

“We are scared of nothing. We have been punished for the principles that we stand for, so we are no longer afraid. We are fighting to protect our Constitution. We fight for the office of the Public Protector. If we give up on Nkandla and let the issue die, bury us with the office of the Public Protector[ Thuli Madonsela].” 

Malema also equated the party’s hammering on of the Nkandla issue to the struggle against apartheid. 

“It doesn’t matter if people say that we sound like a stuck record. People spoke about apartheid from 1948 until the system fell in 1991 because they were determined. We are determined.” 

He said the EFF would not allow the Constitution to be stomped on right under their noses. 

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said Parliament’s structures should be used against the EFF MPs who disrupted Thursday sitting. 

The ANC was ensuring that Parliament was being paralysed, said Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota after the speaker suspended the session. 

He said his party was “shocked by the stupidity of the ANC on the Nkandla saga”. 

“The more ANC MPs plot to protect the morally defective President about the scandalous spending at his private residence, the more damage they do to their own integrity and the state of Parliament,” Lekota said in a statement. 

Before the session was adjourned, Lekota stood next to Zuma and looked as though he was pleading with him. Also in his statement Lekota said the ruling party had abused parliamentary rules and violated international protocol. 

“This has made a mockery of the proud and dignified Parliament of Nelson Mandela. If the president upheld the law, obeyed the Constitution and maintained high moral standards, others would do so too.”

South Africa – Malema says SARS sequestration retreat a victory for democracy

Mail and Guardian

ulius Malema believes that the decision to withdraw a sequestration application against him is a victory for South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

Julius Malema's tax woes appear to be over. (Getty Images)

“When the court makes a ruling, I will accept it even if I lose … If I am sequestrated I will leave Parliament and be the full-time president of the EFF.”

This is what Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema told hundreds of his supporters outside the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday during a lunch break of a court application for his sequestration.

He was willing to accept defeat if the court had to rule in favour of his sequestration.    Then moments later, as EFF leaders and journalists filled back into the courtroom for the resumption of the court sitting, lawyers for the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and those representing Malema rushed out of court.

Case Withdrawn
They returned soon thereafter, and all lawyers besides the advocate representing Sars, Nic Maritz, took their seats after Judge Gregory Wright entered courtroom GD. Maritz spoke softly and briskly. He has been advised by his client, Sars, to withdraw the case to have Malema sequestrated. Maritz did not give any reasons for the backtracking, only citing “the sensitivity of the case”. And like that, Malema’s sequestration woes were over and the pursuit by Sars to have him declared insolvent because of a staggering tax bill for the last two years had come to an end.

“Some moments ago, I warned you that the Sars representatives have run out of breath and do not know what to say,” Malema told a jubilant crowd. He said this was not a victory for his party or himself, but a victory for the constitutional democracy that is South Africa.

Earlier, Maritz argued that Sars wanted the EFF leader sequestrated and the compromise deal it had with Malema was not longer on the cards. In May last year, The North Gauteng High Court postponed the sequestration matter to August 25 after an agreement was entered into between Malema and the Sars.

Conditional Compromise
Maritz, for Sars, then told the court the two parties had entered into a conditional compromise agreement.

As per the agreement Malema initially owed Sars R18-million, but this was brought down to R7.2-million as per the compromise. The provisional sequestration was then extended to December and again until April this year.

Maritz however, told the court on Monday that Malama was not honest about the source he used to settle his debt. Sars further told the court that besides the initial R18-million Malema owed, he now owes an additional R13.5- million for the 2011 and 2012 tax year.

Maritz argued that once Malema was sequestrated Sars would be able to recover the outstanding tax bill that Malema owes.But soon after this submission was made to the court, Martiz made a u-turn in his argument simply saying that they no longer sought sequestration.

ANC puppets
Speaking outside court, Malema said this was a victory for democracy. “If there was a case against us they would have long arrested us,” he said. Malema pleaded to the Sars leadership not to be used as a political tool by the ANC government. At the same time, Malema chastised his supporters who called for the fall of Sars.

EFF supporters wore T-shirts with the words “#SarsMustFall” and held banners saying Sars has become a tool for politicians. “We are going to need this Sars and therefore don’t destroy the institutions you have built which could also contribute to the sustainability of our democracy,” Malema said. Interestingly, contrary to statements he previously made, Malema maintained that the judiciary was the only remaining independent arm of government.

In previous court stints, Malema claimed that the courts was used by the ruling ANC against him. This time, he was more confident in the judiciary but accused Sars of being controlled by the ANC.

“This confirms once more that our judiciary is independent from the ANC. And the judiciary is not prepared to play a role in destroying political opponents of the ruling party,” Malema told his supporters. While his tax woes may be over, Malema is still expected to appear in the Polokwane High Court in August on charges of fraud and corruption.

South Africa – EFF’s Malema at anti-xenophobia rally; shots fired from hostel

Daily Maverick

Gunshots and Gogos: The EFF rallies against xenophobia in Alexandra

  • Richard Poplak

On Tuesday Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters visited the Johannesburg township of Alexandra for an anti-xenophobia rally. Slogans were yelled. Shots rang out. Where is this all getting us? By RICHARD POPLAK.

It is now day whatever of the re-upped South African xenophobia phantasmagoria, the day after the publication of James Oatway’s photographs of the slaying of a Mozambican national named Emmanuel Sithole, the day during which everyone’s favourite colonial construct—the R63-million-a-year “traditional leader” hood ornament that is King Goodwill Zwelithini—blamed both a third force and the media for misquoting the anti-foreigner rant that kick-started this whole nightmare. Across this nation, anti-xenophobia rallies competed with pro-xenophobia utterances in a cycle that shows no signs of winding down. On the one hand, a South Africa that is deeply horrified by its own unfathomable hatred. On the other hand, a South Africa that remains determined to purge itself of anyone who isn’t from here—whatever “here” means on a continent rendered incomprehensible by pretend borders drafted in nineteenth-century Germany.

On Monday the King spoke at an imbizo at Durban’s Moses Mabhida stadium, while prominent ANC hacks looked on and nodded sagely. “If indeed I have called you to arms this country will be in ashes as we speak,” said the King. “But I’m saying let’s arm for peace‚ now I’m instigating you to mobilise for peace.” No prominent political figure has had the balls to heel Zwelithini, mostly because he comes bearing votes, and to denounce him would be suicide at the polls. That may be. But it renders the world out there a strange one, full of half-steps and juddering attempts to denounce chauvinism while ensuring that one of the more obvious hangovers of colonial Divide et impera gets to speak to stadiums populated by bussed-in extras—most of whom made it abundantly clear that they agreed with the King’s “misquoted” sentiments, and not with his attempts to render them anodyne.

Meanwhile, in the townships of Johannesburg, where complicated communities of actual human beings—Africans from all over Africa, who live amongst each other, teach each other, serve each other, feed each other, love each other, rob each other, help each other—were used as props in a narrative that has become increasingly surreal. Alexandra, the famed township in which so much struggle Sturm und Drang was set, remains a theatre for this sort of thing. Its crumbling brick hostel, which garrisoned Zulus during the Apartheid years, has seen better days—and its best days were bad days. During last year’s election, it disgorged hundreds of men who claimed that the Independent Election Commission had fudged the counting of a ballot box in favour of the ANC. They rioted in the streets, and in came Nyalas, choppers, patrol cars, bulletproof trucks of no known provenance, police, the army, a phalanx of men and women armed to the teeth and ready to kill in order to save the illusory dignity of our illusory democracy.

On Tuesday afternoon, however, Alexandra was just Alexandra, a stage for an Economic Freedom Fighters anti-xenophobia rally that would be addressed by Commander in Chief Julius Malema himself. Unlike President Zuma, Malema appears genuinely upset by the bulk murder of black Africans on local soil. The plan, as I understood it, was to stage the rally and speech at the Alexandra women’s hostel, a dismal living memory of the Apartheid years that should’ve been razed to the ground in 1994.

Nonetheless, there it stood, and there we stood at roughly 16h00, waiting for the CiC and his entourage to show up and address the gathering crowd. That plan, it turned out, was not the plan, or at least not in full. After the rangy Arafat Sello, head of communications for Johannesburg, yelled out the now depressingly familiar slogans—“Down with xenophobia, down”, “Forward United States of Africa, forward”—it became clear that we were to march to the men’s hostel at the end of the drag.

That seemed unwise for several reasons, the most urgent being that some really bad dudes live in the joint, and they’d likely consider this an act of war.

“Where are they going?” asked an older gentleman who gave his name as Samuel. After I described our itinerary, he shook his head. “Write this down in your book: it’s not a good idea to walk to the hostel,” he said. “They’re going to be violent, these guys. They make it look like a Zulu thing, but it’s just a few guys. They”—by which he meant the EFF—“think they are fixing. They’re not.”

“Tell them to write a letter,” added a second man. “Not like this.”


Photo: Residents of the Alexandra men’s hostel look at the EFF march against xenophobia. Minutes later, shots were fired from a window of the hostel into the EFF crowd, injuring one person. (Greg Nicolson)

Unheeding, the EFF rally chanted across the road from the hostel, othering all of those inside. As I stood dutifully scribbling Samuel’s words into my notebook, I heard the pop of gunfire. I looked up and saw muzzle flashes from one of the high windows, and heard four more shots. Screaming. Mayhem. Angry sloganeering. The crowd reared back, and I soon learned that a Fighter had been hit in the leg. Fellow Fighters formed a protective circle around him, shielding him from the media. He seemed rather nonchalant about the whole thing, despite the gaping hole in his khaki slacks.


Photo: The man injured when shots were fired from the hostel is taken for care. He was shot in the leg. (Greg Nicolson)

The Cops, you ask? Clearly you haven’t been paying attention these past few weeks. A compromised ballot box brought out an armed force that could take down ISIS. A thug shooting indiscriminately into a crowd didn’t summon so much as a patrol car. An ambulance did eventually show up, and it carted the injured man away. Count that as a small victory against the forces of all-consuming Chaos.

Battle-stunned, the Fighters made their way back toward the women’s hostel, until a Silver Mercedes van roared down the street. Out jumped the CiC, along with commissars Dali Mpofu and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. They stood on the back of bakkie, as dusk descended on the township. The CiC slammed his way through a passionate speech that was half a cry for African unity, and half a campaign stop on the long road to Mahlamba Ndlopfu.


Photo: Young men on a rooftop watch EFF leader Julius Malema address his supporters in Alexandra. (Greg Nicolson)

Wearing a grey hoodie, faded blue jeans and a red beret, Malema got right to it. “When you arrived here [in Alex], you arrived in a township that was established by force, in order for the people to be closer to work. But you kill a fellow African because African life is cheap!”

He reminded the crowd of the non-existent line between xenophobia and criminality, and implored them to take back the streets. “These borders are not our borders,” he yelled. “These borders are imposed on us by the colonisers. I have come here to plead with you. There is no Zulu king telling you to kill people. The King has never said that. He is just speaking against criminals.” Following that piece of gentle sophistry, he got down to business. “No Zimbabwean has taken your job. You want a job, go to Luthuli House. Take every Zimbabwean back to Zimbabwe, and you will still be unemployed. You can kill all the people of Zimbabwe, and you will still die in poverty.”

And then the kicker: “Your problem is the ANC.”


Photo: EFF leader Julius Malema salutes his supporters in Alex on Monday. (Greg Nicolson)

The anti-xenophobia rally now devolved—or, rather evolved—into a campaign rally, because in South Africa the election cycle never ends. Showing significant moxy, Malema and his crew walked into the streets of Alex, and we followed him into warrens of zinc that lead us into the homes of two gogos. It was a splendid show: the son of a shack returning to the sounds and smells of his Limpopo childhood, folding himself onto a small seat and speaking with the dazzled owner about the issues of the day.


Photo: An EFF member protests xenophobia after the EFF’s Julius Malema had left the area on Monday. (Greg Nicolson)

After half an hour of this, the CiC got back into his van and tore off. Alexandra after a political event still keeps the buzz, but it eventually dies down, and the bustle of normal life returns. Normal life in Alexandra is normal life in most communities in South Africa—folks just getting by one way or another.


Photo: A young girl holds a sign protesting against xenophobia after the EFF’s Julius Malema had left the area on Monday. (Greg Nicolson)

“We are a peaceful people,” Malema said. But that isn’t true. The hatred is always there; it never goes away, it cannot be rallied into negligibility. It’s a self-hatred that manifests as hatred of the other; it’s mass suicide dressed up as mass murder. That said, it is easily tapped, easily used, and makes for some splendid photo-ops. DM

Main photo: The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Julius Malema and Dali Mpofu lead supporters on a short tour of Alexandra against xenophobia. (Greg Nicolson)

South Africa xenophobic attacks on Africans

Daily Maverick

South Africa: The place of shame, violence and disconnect


“South Africans are generally not xenophobic”, President Jacob Zuma said in Parliament on Thursday. What are we generally? Complacent? Angry? Fed up? Who knows what the true state of this nation is. However our default position whenever we are under pressure is to resort to violence. It is our thing. Like the French are known for romance and the British are known for being snooty. We are defined by violence – from the roads to our homes to the streets to Parliament and to our bedrooms. We came from violence and we always go back to it. And for as long as violence is our means of engagement, something extraordinary needs to happen to heal our nation. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

On Thursday morning, the office of the National Police Commissioner issued a media statement announcing the activation nationally of joint operational centres to “coordinate response to unrest”. Speaking in Parliament later in the day, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, referred to “flashpoints” he and other government officials had visited. “Unrest” and “flashpoints” were part of the South African lexicon in the 80s and early 90s. It was the time when a low-intensity civil war was raging, and political violence and bloodshed were part of our daily lives.

And so we are back to what we were, a nation with unrest and flashpoints. A country where mobs sharpen their machetes and vow to kill in front of a wall of riot policemen poised to fire. That was the image of Apartheid South Africa. Now it is the image of post-democracy South Africa.

President Jacob Zuma is credited with being one of the leaders who negotiated the peace deal in KwaZulu-Natal that saw those words and images fade away. He knows what it takes to stop marauding, bloodthirsty mobs from wreaking havoc. And he knows that a heavy police presence is only a temporary solution when people are on a campaign of violence.

Brokering a cessation of violence is one of the things Zuma can do. He knows it takes a multi-pronged approach that involves going to the ground, listening to grievances, disarming those perpetrating violence and mapping a way forward that everyone involved commits to. Zuma wrote the manual on how that is done, and for that reason was dispatched to other parts of Africa to assist in peace processes.

And yet the outbreak and spread of xenophobic violence in different parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng is being dealt with as if it is a service delivery protest or labour dispute that a heavy police deployment can deal with.

It cannot. This is violence with the intention to kill and destroy lives.

The attacks against foreign nationals have been described as “corrective violence”. Like with “corrective rape”, it is a forceful means to take matters into your own hands and attempt to change what you do not approve of. In the swirl of commentary and analysis to try to understand the xenophobic attacks, it is suggested that “corrective violence” is the means frustrated South Africans are using to rid their areas of crime and drug abuse and chasing away foreigners who take away their jobs and economic opportunities.

After years of unemployment, poverty and crime reaching endemic proportions, with no relief coming from those in authority, people are taking matters into their own hands, driven by anger and desperation. It is this what has caused people to lose their humanity and resort to violence their means of engagement.

How then would heavier policing defuse such a situation? Who should be listening to, understanding the desperation, and providing the long-term solution?

A special debate in Parliament was a good gesture to demonstrate that everyone from the president to leaders of all political parties were concerned by the xenophobic attacks and were willing to address the matter publicly. While there were many, many words of condemnation against the attacks, and a hefty dose of finger pointing as to why they were happening, the parliamentary debate will have no effect in stopping the violence.

It is the symptom of the very disconnect that has brought us to the point where ordinary people believe that nobody is listening and nobody cares. While the debate on the attacks on foreign nationals was in progress in Parliament, a mob of people was trying to attack the peace march in Durban against xenophobia. These were South Africans wanting to attack other South Africans demonstrating their opposition to violence against other Africans.

Had the police not held off the mob, including through firing water canons at them, what would have happened had they reached the City Hall where the march of about 3,000 people ended? Would there have been another parliamentary debate to condemn the chaos and possible loss of life that would have occurred? How would the reign of terror stop?

During the debate, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said the state had taught South Africans that violence was the only way to deal with issues. He cited police killing people at Marikana and in service delivery protests, and his party being forcibly removed from the National Assembly during the State of the Nation Address as examples of this.

Perhaps that may be true, but violence is deeply embedded into the fabric of our society. Violence was used to fight the unjust system of Apartheid and by the former regime to suppress the struggle. The democratic state is mimicking the Apartheid state, again to suppress opposition. And people now use violence against others in the belief they are also fighting a just cause.

Violence is also used as a means to take what does not belong to us, to demonstrate that we have the right of way, the right to violate other people’s bodies and to demand attention.

When we can’t spill blood, we spill shit. When we are done burning tyres, we burn people.

It is all part of the dialect of this tormented nation.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said greed, corruption and disrespect for the rule of law was rampant in our society, and while poverty was endemic, leaders were interested in lining their pockets. Freedom Front Plus MP Corne Mulder said there was an “evil spirit” running around the country and there were no positive values. African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe said South Africans need anger management and to pray. Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said “our humanity is slipping away from us”.

Zuma spoke of new measures to better regulate migration and the deployment of the security cluster and economic departments to deal with the problems.

But who is going to go to the streets and townships to tell those brandishing weapons, assaulting people and looting shops to stop what they are doing? Who will stop the fear and loathing in communities? Who is going to realise the great disconnect between those in leadership and the people on the ground who would not have the benefit of listening to the parliamentary debate?

It came to this precisely because of the disconnect. Leaders across society become separated from the people they serve and therefore get shocked when they go on a rampage. South Africa is the shame of the continent and a deviant of the world, and will continue being so until it changes its culture and values.

Xenophobia, unrest and flashpoints will not go away unless there is a serious national effort to address the multiple collision of problems – the failure of leadership, the economic decline, crime, corruption, abuse and the lack of humanity, decency and values.

South Africa needs to be defined by something new, something better, something that will give us a reason to believe once more. We need hope in time of hopelessness. We need leadership in leaderless years. We need to feel our humanity, we need to feel our goodness. This angry violent nation needs to emerge from the shame of being amongst the wretched of the earth. It might be difficult to see it right now, but we, South Africans, deserve better. DM

Photo: Local South African men dance and sing as they call for foreign shop owners to leave the area after xenophobic violence in the area in Actonville, Johannesburg, South Africa, 16 April 2015. Police searched the mens hostels for weapons used by local South African men against foreign African’s after five people have been killed during recent xenophobia attacks that started in Durban. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

South Africa – march against xenophobia


South Africa’s Durban city rallies against xenophobia

Thousands of people take part in the "peace march" against xenophobia in Durban, South Africa, on 16 April 2015
Attacks on foreigners have spread across South Africa in recent weeks

Up to 5,000 people have taken part in a rally against xenophobia in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban following attacks on foreigners.

President Jacob Zuma condemned the violence, which have claimed at least five lives, as “shocking”, and called for calm to be restored.

The Zulu king has been accused of fuelling the attacks. He denies this.

Many jobless South Africans accuse foreigners of taking jobs in a country where the unemployment rate is 24%.

“No amount of frustration or anger can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops,” President Zuma told parliament on Thursday.


For the latest news, views and analysis see the BBC Africa Live page.

BBC Africa Live page screen grab

Beautiful sight’

Protesters marched through Durban chanting “Down with xenophobia” and “A United Africa”, led by the city mayor and the premier of KwaZulu Natal province.

Marcher Vanessa Govender told the BBC: “It’s just a mammoth show of support for all those foreigners who have fallen victim to the past two weeks of xenophobic violence.”

Police officers advance to enter men's hostel after xenophobic violence in the area overnight forced foreign shop owners to close their shops for fear of attack in Actonville, Johannesburg on 16 April 2015
Riot police tried to prevent further attacks on foreigners in eastern Johannesburg on Thursday

As the march was held, anti-immigrant protesters clashed with police, but were reportedly dispersed by water cannon and pepper spray.

The latest wave of violence against foreigners erupted in the Durban area before spreading to other parts of the country.

In Johannesburg on Thursday, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a crowd chanting anti-immigrant slogans after attacks on foreign-owned shops. Dozens of migrants sought refuge in a police station.

Malawi has said it would evacuate its nationals from South Africa and Kenya says it is preparing to do the same. Mozambique has set up border camps to cope with the exodus of its citizens.

Foreign nationals pack up their shops in the small village of Primrose, near Germiston about 15kms east of Johannesburg, on 16 April 2015
Foreign nationals were seen closing up their shops near Johannesburg on Thursday
Makeshift camp for foreigners outside Durban, 15 April 2015
Some are seeking refuge from the violence in makeshift camps such as this one outside Durban

Hate speech

Many foreigners, mostly from other African states and Asia, have moved to South Africa since white-minority rule ended in 1994.

At least 62 people died in xenophobic attacks that swept South Africa in 2008.

The government-backed South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is investigating complaints of hate speech made against Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.

He was widely quoted as saying last month that foreigners should “go back to their countries”. However, he said that his comments had been distorted.


Are you in Durban? What is your reaction to the march against xenophobia? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your experience.

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South Africa – Zuma says people are not generally xenophobic

Usual Zuma fudge – seems the country is seething with Goodwill towards other Africans.KS

Mail and Guardian

Condemning the attacks on foreign nationals, Jacob Zuma also says South Africans are generally not xenophobic.

President Jacob Zuma called on the country to remain calm in the face of the violence spreading through KwaZulu-Natal and not to use social media to enflame the xenophobic attacks spreading through the country.

No amount of frustration or anger can justify attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops, President Jacob Zuma said this afternoon. In his first detailed public response to xenophobic attacks that started in several areas of KwaZulu-Natal last week Zuma said it was the responsibility of all South Africans to promote social cohesion, peaceful co-existence and good relations.

Zuma today called on the country to remain calm in the face of the violence spreading in KwaZulu-Natal and some parts of Gauteng and discouraged South Africans from using social media to fuel the flames of xenophobic attacks. 

Addressing the National Assembly this afternoon, Zuma said the attacks violated all the values that South Africa embodied, especially respect for human life, human rights, human dignity and Ubuntu.

“We appeal for calm, an end to the violence and restraint. Criminal elements should not be allowed to take advantage of the concerns of citizens to sow mayhem and destruction. Any problems or issues of concern to South African citizens must be resolved peacefully and through dialogue.

“The police have been directed to work around the clock to protect both foreign nationals and citizens and to arrest looters and those committing acts of violence,” said Zuma.

Zuma said while government strongly condemned the attacks, it was aware of and sympathetic to some of the concerns raised by South African citizens in relation to socio-economic issues, concerns the president said were receiving attention. 

“These include complaints about illegal and undocumented immigrants in the country, the increase in the number of shops or small businesses that have been taken over by foreign nationals and also perceptions that foreign nationals commit or perpetrate crime. We wish to emphasise that while some foreign nationals have been arrested for various crimes, it is misleading and wrong to label or regard all foreign nationals as being involved in crime in the country,” said Zuma. 

“We reiterate our view that South Africans are generally not xenophobic. If they were, we would not have such a high number of foreign nationals who have been successfully integrated into communities all over our country, in towns, cities and villages.”

Zuma’s address to the National Assembly was delayed for almost an hour as Members of Parliament debated what should take priority for the president’s appearance in the House, with Economic Freedom Fighters MPs calling for Zuma to first answer the question about when is he planning to pay back a portion of the money used to upgrade his private Nkandla home. Zuma was interrupted and the Parliamentary session suspended in August last year when he was asked the same question.

EFF leader Julius Malema and other opposition parties blame the xenophobic attacks on the Zuma-led government. 

Looking directly at Zuma while delivering his speech, Malema said he had taught South Africans that violence was the only way to deal with issues, citing the killing of striking of mineworkers in Marikana as an example.

“You have lost control of the country because you have lost control of your family. Your own son [Edward Zuma] has stood up and said these people must go, and you do not address that. How can you rule over the country when you can’t even rule over your family? Your son is one example of a family member that you can’t whip into submission,” Malema said.

Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said the country should not stand by while human beings were being tortured and killed.

“I understand the frustration being felt by South Africans, especially unemployed youth, who struggle to access opportunities to improve their lives. Jobs are scarce. Our economy continues to exclude millions of South Africans,” Maimane said. 

“But to focus this anger and frustration on a small group of foreign nationals who have become unfairly vilified and victimised does not address the cause of that frustration. We must not turn xenophobia into a political football. We must not shy away from the root causes of the problem either. The root of this problem lies in our inability to bring about economic growth and decrease the inequality that plagues our nation.”

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi questioned the government’s slow response to violence when targeted at foreigners and said when the state was quiet, people died.

Calling for what he called “barbaric and inhumane attacks” to stop, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said the cause of this violence was a country with high levels of poverty, with leaders only interested in lining their pockets.

“This has to come to a stop, if we are to redeem our image and attract investors,” Holomisa said. 

Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba condemned the attacks and said it must be emphasised that not all South Africans were involved in the savagery. Gigaba said it was wrong to claim that all immigrants were undocumented and illegal in South Africa.

“It is wrong to claim that all immigrants do not pay taxes and are therefore a drain on South Africa.”

Defending Zuma from Malema’s critical speech, Gigaba said the EFF leader was “the best student of the school of nuisance.”